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Post Info TOPIC: Cut down barreled Mortier de 220 Mle or a Mortier de 270 Mle. 1885 de Bange.


Hero

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Cut down barreled Mortier de 220 Mle or a Mortier de 270 Mle. 1885 de Bange.
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Gentleman

 

  I need some help, I have been researching early French mortars used during the first few months may be even the first couple of years (1914-1918). I have come across a photo showing what appears to be a mortar that resembles the American Dictator mortar (13-inch Seacoast Mortar). I have been told that it is a either a Mortier de 220 Mle or a Mortier de 270 Mle. 1885 de Bange. I have also been told that the French actively used anything available at the beginning of the war, to which I completely understand. Even if it had a damaged barrel, they would cut it down and strengthen it with extra metal, thus the large band around the barrel in the photo, past the lift handle. My question, has anyone seen this before, is there any information anyone can share, i.e. photo’s, anything especially did they have to redesign ammo etc….

 

 

 

All the Best

 

Tim R.

 



-- Edited by Tim R on Thursday 19th of September 2019 06:24:53 PM

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Legend

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As you  say its looks like a 220mm or 270mm de bange mortier, would say its missing the entire barrel though, theres a bit on it including transport and various mounts in "Ecole militaire de l'artillerie. Cours d'artillerie. Historique et organisation de l'artillerie : l'artillerie française depuis le 2 août 1914." pg 73on

Maybe more in "Revue d'artillerie"

wink

Nice photo here: Manoeuvre de pointage d'un mortier de 220

 



-- Edited by Ironsides on Thursday 19th of September 2019 06:17:08 PM

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Ironsides

  Thank you for your reply.

By the way is it my old eyes or does the Mortier photo in my picture look so much bigger than the last attached photo in your post, I believe the 220?

All the best

Tim R



-- Edited by Tim R on Thursday 19th of September 2019 06:27:16 PM

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Legend

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The ring in front of the trunnions was typical of the Mortier de 270 Mle 1885 - they all seem to have it but the width varies a bit. I suspect it was added to the guns in service possibly because of a detected weakness in the barrel. The attached appears to show the ring. Looking at the original image it looks more like a failed gun rather than anything operational.

There is a surviving 270 Mle 1885 in the Royal Military Museum at Brussels - the ring in front of the trunnions looks to be a different profile to the first image but is certainly present.

Regards,

Charlie

<later> - here's a manual for both the 220mm and 270mm mortiers - https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6556159m

 

 



-- Edited by CharlieC on Friday 20th of September 2019 01:33:02 AM



-- Edited by CharlieC on Friday 20th of September 2019 01:34:02 AM



-- Edited by CharlieC on Friday 20th of September 2019 05:38:41 AM



-- Edited by CharlieC on Friday 20th of September 2019 06:23:48 AM

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Legend

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Tim, I think your right its the 270 m1885 as in Charlies pic, there are two versions of the Mortier de 270:

Mortier de 270 de siege M1885 and Mortier de 270 de cote M1889, looks even bigger to me!:

Mortier de 270 de cote M1889 pic 1

Mortier de 270 de cote M1889 pic 2

Cant find any pics of the 270 1885 on Gallica but here are some others:

Mortier de 270 de siege M1885

Technical information for the 270 M1885 in 1916 including munitions:

Renseignements sur les matériels d'artillerie de tous calibres en service 1916

wink




-- Edited by Ironsides on Friday 20th of September 2019 10:23:44 AM

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Legend

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The difference between the Mortier G de 270 Mle 1889 (coastal defence mortar) and the Mortier de 270 Mle 1887 de Bange was that the 1889 version had a longer barrel L/10.9 vs L/6.67. The extra barrel length seems to have been in front of the trunnions.

Both 270 Mortiers were deployed to the front in WW1 even though the coastal defence Mortier had a very heavy mounting which was not designed to be dismantled for transport.

Both the 220 and 270 Mortiers need a Landships II article since they were used in small numbers from 1915 onwards. The Mortier G was even used as coastal defence gun by the Germans in WW2.

Regards,

Charlie

The period reference with the data on the guns says the barrel is L/8 rather than L/6.67 (quoted in Les Canons de la Victoire 1914-1918)

 



-- Edited by CharlieC on Friday 20th of September 2019 12:27:42 PM

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Legend

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Found an image in Wikimedia which looks like another barrel break on a 270mm barrel. Perhaps this was fairly common. The break looks like it occurred

inside the trunnion block - you can persuade yourself the handle on top of the barrel is covered by the tarpaulin. The caption says the image was taken

at the railway station at Cuperly in the Marne, 1916.

I don't think that will polish out....

Regards,

Charlie

 



-- Edited by CharlieC on Sunday 22nd of September 2019 07:27:53 AM

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Legend

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Interesting pic Charlie..

What I think may be the prototype, from "L'artillerie de terre en France pendant un siècl"

 

270.jpeg

 

 

Battery in Position "Ravine de Combles" mortier de 270mm

ravin%20de%20combles%20-%20mortier%20de%



-- Edited by Ironsides on Friday 27th of September 2019 08:37:26 AM

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Legend

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The 270 Mle 1885 carriage is certainly an early one. If I've read the GBM text correctly, although the barrel design was accepted in 1885, the carriage

design went through a number of iterations before the 1891 design was accepted. François Vauvillier said in his GBM article on the 270 that he thought

the original carriage design for the 270 was similar to the Mle 1880 220mm. I think the image you've found confirms this.

My guess is that the greater weight of the 270 would have made it difficult to lever back into battery as was standard practice with the 220mm.

The book is great find - I wonder if the 3rd volume is on line - that should cover the ending of the state arsenal monopoly on artillery for the French Army

and the realisation that a war was coming and the field artillery was deficient (not everyone was obsessed with the Mle1897).

Regards,

Charlie

Later - the text of the book says the carriage in the image was designed by the "Central Depot" in 1887 at the same time as the type with hydraulic recoil absorption, which eventually was adopted after further trials in 1891.



-- Edited by CharlieC on Friday 27th of September 2019 10:45:05 AM

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Legend

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Not sure if there is a 3rd volume but the first one is there, other books by the same author are mainly text books on artillery:

https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k64632169/f266.planchecontact 

Challéat Jules books

I cant make my mind up on whether or not the second image is of 270mm mortars, I dont see the crane for loading so maybe their actually 220s?

wink



-- Edited by Ironsides on Friday 27th of September 2019 05:19:52 PM

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Legend

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No 3rd volume of Challeat's work - he died in 1936.

I think you're right the Mortiers are all 220s. The one on the right clearly is an Mle 1880/1891 with a carriage similar to the 270mm Mle 1885 - the baseplate

hasn't been buried in the ground. The others look the same but the carriages have been traversed so they aren't aligned with the baseplate.

I'd bet digging in the baseplate on the 220 and 270mm Mortiers was a really fun job especially in rocky ground.

Regards,

Charlie

 



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Legend

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Being intrigued with the drawing with the L shaped carriage on Fortiffsere.fr I thought I'd look a little further, turns out this is taken from

a History book "L'artillerie" by Lt-colonel Hennebert published in 1887.

However another Article on "Krupp and De Bange" by Emile Monthaye Belgian General Staff 1888, claims the following

in discussing the new french 270mm mortar pg56 on:

"It may not be entirely devoid of interest to compare
a Krupp gun with a new De Bange, on the supposition
that the latter exists otherwise than on paper, that it
has been actually constructed and possesses the ballistic
qualities assigned to it in the self-laudatory prospectus."

"Its very evident that pains were taken in designing the
mortar, a later creation, to follow very closely the krupp
howitzer.
Notwithstanding this the french piece, which has neither
been constructed nor necesarily tried, is not quite as effective
as its german prototype."

So its either a concept illustration or one of the failed prototypes.

Any thoughts...

wink



-- Edited by Ironsides on Monday 30th of September 2019 09:41:22 AM

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Legend

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It certainly was a different age - received wisdom determined by social/organisational status was everything.

The Belgian guy had not a clue what was going on - he was writing in 1888 - the French Army had accepted the 270mm de Bange in 1885

and were trying to find a suitable carriage for it. The de Bange Mortier fired much heavier projectiles to about the same range as the

Krupp 21cm Stahlmorser so I think the superiority would lie with the French Mortier. If you were to do a comparison it should be with

the French 220mm Mortier but why let facts interrupt a good prejudice.

The drawing of the 270mm is weird - it's obviously based on the Canon de 155C Mle 1881 de Bange. The odd comma shaped carriage is actually sensible

if you look at how the 155C was used. It was fired off a wooden platform so the carriage had to be a compact as possible and allow for

high angle fire. Just bigging the carriage up for a 270mm is just strange - the recoil forces from the bigger calibre require a much more

substantial carriage than the fairly light 155C (emplaced weight 2000kg).

The previous image of a 270mm prototype carriage looks to me as if it would fail early because it just isn't robust enough. If you look at the

270mm Mle 1891 carriage the side plates of the carriage are double thickness under the trunnions and there are double rows of rivets holding the internal

cross plates to the side plates. None of that strengthening is evident in the prototype.

Regards,

Charlie

 



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